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Molecular Factors in Cardiac Development

Identification of the predominant molecular and genetic factors involved in cardiac development.

Transcription Factors

  • Nk family transcription factors are expressed in all animals with contractile vascular cells and hence are crucial for myocardial development; Nkx2.5 is specifically required for left ventricular chamber development.
  • Gata family transcription factors interact with Nk factors to promote differentiation of cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells and endoderm; Gata4 regulates myocardial expression and is required for fusion of the heart tubes in the ventral midline; Gata5 is required for endocardial differentiation.
  • T-box - (Tbx) genes play an important role in cardiac morphogenesis; Tbx1 may play a role in neural crest proliferation/function; Tbx2 plays a significant role in chamber specification; Tbx5 is required for atrial septation.
  • Pitx2 is a left-sided transcription factor that controls normal cardiac morphogenesis by regulating cell proliferation.

Signalling Molecules

  • Bone morphogenetic protein - (BMP) (particularly Bmp2) is expressed in cardiogenic mesoderm and is important for specification and myocardial differentiation.
  • Wnt - signalling inhibition promotes cardiogenesis in the cardiogenic mesoderm.
  • Fibroblast growth factor - (Fgf) acts alongside Bmp to allow for myocardial differentiation. Fgf8 is expressed in cardiogenic mesoderm and hence allows for cardiac specification.
  • Notch - signalling establishes sub-populations within the cardiogenic mesoderm by regulating asymmetric cell division. Notch also has an inhibitory effect on myocardial differentiation.
  • Cripto mediates Nodal signalling to allow for myocardial differentiation.

Factor Links: AMH | hCG | BMP | sonic hedgehog | bHLH | HOX | FGF | FOX | Hippo | LIM | Nanog | NGF | Nodal | Notch | PAX | retinoic acid | SIX | Slit2/Robo1 | SOX | TBX | TGF-beta | VEGF | WNT | Category:Molecular

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2019, June 18) Embryology Molecular & Genetic Cardiac Development Factors.jpg. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2019, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G

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